University of West Florida
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--used before words and letters with an initial consonant sound
a CPA, a historical event
--used before words and letters with an initial vowel sound
an MBA, an honorable man
--incorrect spelling for
--verb: to take
I graciously accept your invitation.
--verb: to omit;
Mothers of small children are excepted from jury duty.
Everyone was excused except Joe and me.
--noun (ending pronounced "ice")
Most good advice falls on deaf ears.
--verb (rhymes with devise)
The protestors were advised to submit a list of their grievances.
--verb: to influence
The noise affects my concentration.
--noun: result; verb: to bring about
His speech had a positive effect on me.
The President has effected a new tax law.
--incorrect spelling for
We sold almost all the tickets.
We sold most of the tickets.
--used for relationships involving MORE THAN TWO people or things
There is a silent closeness among the family members.
--used for relationships involving ONLY TWO people or things
Lois and Hattie had only fifty cents between them.
--used with singular (mass) nouns (see
amount of work, amount of credit
--used with plural (countable) nouns (see
number of classes, number of mistakes
As, as if, as though
--used before clauses (see
It looks as if (not
) it's going to rain.
He acts as though (not
) he has Alzheimer's disease.
Be sure and
be sure to
--used only when a clause follows
The old plantation is different than it used to be.
--used always except when a clause follows
Her hairdo is different from yours.
--used to introduce
phrases; means "caused by"
His mistakes were due to carelessness.
--used to introduce
phrases; means "as a result of"
He was dismissed because of his dishonesty.
Due to the fact that
--misused and wordy for
--used with countable nouns (see
fewer cigarettes, fewer people
--used with mass nouns or general amounts (see
less time, less money
--used as an
meaning "in a hopeful manner," not as a sentence modifier (NOTE:
is usually misused when placed at the beginning of a sentence.)
The children waited hopefully for the packages to arrive.
WRONG: Hopefully, the team will win.
--misused for regardless
Is when/is where
--should not be used to introduce an explanation or a definition
WRONG: Plagiarism is when a writer presents the thoughts and ideas of another author as his own.
Correction: Plagiarism occurs when a writer presents the thoughts and ideas of another author as his own.
Kind of/sort of
--correctly used preceding nouns, not
I enjoy reading this kind of magazine.
The movie was kind of boring.
The movie was rather boring.
Lead & led
--Lead (pronounced "leed") means "to go first." Its principal parts are
(rhymes with red), and (have)
Priests lead lives of celibacy.
The man led a life of celibacy before he became a priest.
NOTE: The homonym for
is a noun.
The lead in this pencil is broken.
--verb: to allow the use of (lending, lent, [have] lent)
The credit union lends (not
) money to members only.
I lent (not
) my book to her last week.
--noun: something lent for temporary use
I need to establish credit so that I can be eligible for a loan.
--verb: to rest or recline (lying, lay, [have] lain)
I lie on the couch every day.
I lay on the couch for hours yesterday.
The sweater is still lying on the couch.
--verb: to put or place (laying, laid, [have] laid)
Where did he lay my brush?
I must have laid it down somewhere yesterday.
I'm always laying things down and forgetting where I laid them.
used to introduce a phrase, not a clause (see
as, as if, and as though
His features are unique like a fingerprint.
It looks like rain.
--noun: chief official;
: foremost, major
--noun: axiom, rule
Her principal reasons for resigning were her principles of right and wrong.
Reason is because/reason was because
--misused for reason is that/reason was that
The reason he was promoted is that (not is
) he worked exceptionally hard.
--verb: to go up (rising, rose, [have] risen)
She must rise early in the morning to get to work on time.
--verb: to push up (raising, raised, [have] raised)
The landlord must raise the rent to cover an increase in taxes.
--verb: to be seated (sitting, sat, [have] sat)
Good students usually sit on the front row.
--verb: to put, to place (setting, set, [have] set)
Please set the paperwork on my desk.
Try to set a positive example for young people to follow.
Suppose to/use to
--incorrect spellings for supposed to and used to
Amy is a better tennis player than I.
of time (often misused for
The cashier rang up our sale; then he gave us our change.
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